Lane Split with Mallika : Hamza Uddin

"I grew up drinking motor oil and breathing 2-stroke exhaust."

Welcome to all art and motorbike lovers! Last week, we had an intriguing interview with Sneha Yadav A.K.A @mechologue. The insights she gave us on work-life balance and being original were thought-provoking! If you missed it then don’t worry, click here to read the interview.

This week, we have a motoartist who used his art to fuel his passion for riding motorbikes, quite literally at that. With love for the motorsports running deep in his family, it’s only natural that he loves not just riding motorcycles, but making them from scratch. His journey of ups and downs lead him to the field of art, but hey - let’s not spill all the details here.

This artist’s story is best heard in his own words!

Quiet by nature, his eyes and art do all the talking. Introducing the one and only, Hamza Uddin A.K.A @hamerred49!

Left: Motoartist Hamza Uddin test riding one of his builds. Right: Motoart by Hamza.

Mallika: It’s been a pleasure working with you and having your art in both of our shows. You have a very unique aesthetic of neon-colored motorcycles floating in mid-air with the paint dripping. How did the drips come into being?

Hamza: I like neatly presented flaws, that’s how the style came up. In college, I was sketching bikes as if they were disintegrating. I wanted to show how you are exposed to the elements and how the constant pushing at speed feels like you are being destroyed. My initial works on pen and paper were slowly growing towards a drip-style. As I practiced, I learned to control the drips and create a flow.

From top left : Early sketches from college days that show Hamza's stylistic journey evolve from disintegration to drips, and further to the current neon drip style.

My mentor showed me how to use ink and paint when I was doing my post-grad. I used to use too much water which would create a flow that I liked a lot. I would keep my drawing pad vertical and so my sketches naturally flowed.

My journey started as an amateur artist, then learning and more learning to a photorealistic level which got boring after a point. Then I started destroying the photo-realistic sketch with a drip or a flow to show that the piece itself was dynamic and not completely stationary.

Mallika: I noticed that all your posts on Instagram mention your brother as the Director. What role does IRONic88 play in your work?

Hamza: After I’m done with a sketch, I take input from the people around me, my mom and brother. I'm a little fickle-minded so I come up with multiple options and ask them to select the version they like. When I’m working with a client, it is the client’s call. Otherwise it’s my family. That’s where my brother comes in.

"Stocks look like vacuum cleaners. . . if you look at a custom bike, everything has been addressed and touched by a craftsman and it has its own charm. It’s a piece of art."

Mallika: I’d like to dig more into how you got into art and motorcycles.

Hamza: I grew up drinking motor oil and breathing 2-stroke exhaust.

Mallika: [Laughter and bewilderment]. Please explain.

My father restores vintage cars and growing up in that environment has been a huge influence. My mom’s mom was a rally driver and my mom used to be her navigator. She learned to drive at the age of 14 and took it up as a hobby. It was common back then to have local events in the south and in gymkhanas. She used to race rally-prepped Gypsys and Fiats. My house is more like a garage.

Family photo with brother Saad, Hamza (second from left) and parents with a restored Cadillac.

I never found art to be a cool thing but I realized I was good at it. In high school, I used to sketch only horses. Then I turned to hot-rods, rat-rods, and the Bonneville salt flat races. I basically wanted posters in my room but didn’t have the resources like a printer. What I had is time so I thought why not replicate what I’m seeing. However, sometime into college, I completely stopped.

Then towards the end of my graduation, I realized I was not doing well in class. I felt like a failure. With nothing else to do, I and a few of my friends thought we’d do T-shirt design. That’s where I started developing and learning those skills to have an alternate career.

After starting in T-shirt design, I realized there was no money in it, but realized that if I do logo designs, I can get some money that I can use to buy petrol and get on the road. So that’s what we started doing. Sketch, save, buy fuel, ride.

Photos from college days working on stencils and wall paintings in cafes.

Then we started doing interiors of cafes and wall painting where we found potential and money. There was a lot to learn and that’s when I started exploring digital art. I found it to be easier and more convenient. And you don’t have to buy any canvas and materials.

Then I went to Pune to study product design. I was interacting with graphic designers and animators and other artsy people. That’s when I really started honing my skill and started doing it professionally. After post-graduation, I came back to Hyderabad and I figured I needed to have a style and identity as an artist. I had a mentor in my post-graduation who was a faculty member and he pushed me in the right direction. Hamerred49 started when I got a proper job.

I like motorcycles with character which lacks in almost every stock modern-day motorcycle. Motorcycles that need attention, care, and respect. Not just fuel and an on and off switch, ones that also need some mechanical knowledge and skill in order to ride them.